Text marketing has been around for over 10 years now, although up until the recent explosion in Smartphone sales and the widespread explosion of text-messaging, mobile marketing was not very effective. Mobile marketing is now the most effective way to market your business ever! Did you know that for every phone call made there are now over five text messages sent?
The success of text marketing is due to the rules that are in place. Remember when email marketing was returning double, triple or more the results of direct mail? That was short-lived because email lists were made and sold, so the amount of spam increased to the point where it is today. Most email is sent to the spam filter, and most of us are plenty careful in who we give our email addresses to. Text is different and will remain a strong marketing method for years due, in part, to the harsh penalties that are in place for spam!
The cell phone is really a radio, and so it is controlled by a division of the FCC called the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA). Every text that is sent has an origination that is fully traceable, so any text messages that are sent out as Spam are subject to a $500 per occurrence fine (if a complaint is filed). Although this was tried with email, the internet is so vast and easy to hide who the sender is, it is next to impossible to find email spammers when they don’t want to be found. Every text is sent with a phone number or short code attached, this is as good as an address to the sender, so fines will be swift and harsh thus keeping spamming to a minimum.
How to use text to increase sales: First and foremost, this is not like email. You do not purchase a list of cell phone numbers and start texting offers to them. This is considered spam and will end up in fines, plus it is not as effective, as most people do not think they want to receive advertising through text. So why is this effective marketing? Because, you only send text offers to the people that want to receive them! For example, Let’s say you have a favorite pizza place, if you received a text coupon from them of “buy 1 get 1 free today only” that might inspire you to go buy a pizza tonight, correct? However, in this case, in order for you to even receive that offer you would have had to opt-in.
Opting-in is easy… you have probably opted-in at your favorite grocery store already if you have a club card, for instance. Opting-in to your favorite pizza place is just a little different. First, it would require you to send a text with a specific word or phrase (keyword or keyword phrase) to a specific short code. I am sure you have seen this in some of the major retailers in the area…. text: bestguys to: 12345 and receive 10% off today’s purchase, or something similar.
The power of text marketing is that it is a direct special or coupon sent out to someone that already knows your business, likes your products or services and trusts you (know, like and trust is the key to making sales). The best part is the delivery is instant and 93% of text messages are read within 5 minutes of receiving them! So think of this, by 2:00pm, 86% of Americans have no idea as to what they are having for dinner, and if you could deliver a text coupon for your pizza place to them at 3:00 pm this could certainly increase your sales! Unlike a coupon that is sent out in the mail, they would have to plan the night before or wait until they arrive home to think about dinner and using your coupon. The best part is there is no printing cost!
Text marketing is not for every business, however for any business that has a consumable product or a reoccurring service, text marketing is a great way of increasing business. As you know, the best source of new sales comes from your existing customer base!
Short Code: (A short code is 5 digits or more that can be assigned like a phone number) Having a dedicated short code would be ideal, however for most businesses it is just not cost effective. To get a dedicated short code costs between $15,000 – $30,000 per year. For this reason, the best way to get started with text marketing is using a shared short code. There are 100’s of providers out there that will charge a small monthly fee to share a short code. They usually restrict you to a few keywords, and a limited number of subscribers (people that have opted-in) and/or the number of text messages you can send over a month’s time. This is the best way in my opinion to get started. I have seen text marketing programs that start at just $20 per month! Now, just like everything, you get what you pay for…so my recommendation is to find a company that offers a short code that is easy to remember (repeating numbers or something easy like 12345) this will help your customers share your coupons with friends! I would also recommend looking for a program that offers coaching from text experts that have practical experience running successful text marketing campaigns. It is super important that you grow your opt-in list as fast as possible, and having coaching is worth its weight in CASH!
It is also important that you are not spamming your list. That is, you are not sending out more than one text message per week to each list. So if you are open five days a week, you should try to build five different lists so you can send out a text coupon or offer every day. This is how you really make text marketing pay back in huge numbers. It is also important that you keep a close eye on how large you grow your lists. I know of a smoothie shop in the mall that offered 1/2 off their purchase to opt-in to their text program. This resulted in building a list of over 1000 people in just a few weeks. One afternoon they were slow, so they decided to send out a text coupon of 1/2 off all smoothies today only! They ended up with a 42% response to this text… that is that they had 420 people show up to get 1/2 off their smoothie. Needless to say, they had many mad customers that had to wait in line for over an hour to get their drink. Too much business is almost worse than not enough as many of those customers will not respond to the next text or opted-out so they will no longer be getting texts.
The bottom line here is that text marketing is very powerful if done right, so work with a professional to help you set up and run your text marketing program and the results you will see are incredible!